As this fifth issue of Built Offsite was being laid out, a report pinged into my inbox showing that Manufactured Housing Estates (MHEs) look set to be a key property growth market over the next decade.

MHEs are on the rise because they are cost effective and simple to build.

And, significantly given this issue’s aged care/healthcare theme, the ageing baby-boomer population is cited as a primary driver for their growth.

According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare projections, by 2056, there will be 8.7 million older Australians (65 years+), accounting for 22% of the population.

Beverley Johanson’s report on page 16 looks at how the market servicing our ageing population is evolving and the role prefab solutions can play in meeting the rising tide of demand, including innovative concepts such as agile housing.

Such ideas echo those presented by property search specialist Strutt & Parker at the housing affordability conference in London (see page 40), with health + wellbeing and demographic shifts cited as key long term drivers in property trends.

In fact healthcare is already a leading adopter of prefabrication, benefiting from prefab’s efficient delivery and cost savings, thanks among other pluses, to the simultaneous completion of often highly complex elements, which can then be delivered as finished modules (see page CAMPH’s insights on page 43).

On another note, this comment wouldn’t be complete without praise for the PrefabAUS Sweden tour in May.

Organised with Swedish prefab machinery giant Randek and its Australian representatives Bliss & Reels, the expertly scheduled tour showcased a mature, world leading industry of which many aspects could be adapted to the Australian market. Our coverage starts on page 14.■

Belinda Smart
Managing Editor Built Offsite


Welcome to this fifth edition of Built Offsite, in which I’m particularly pleased to report on the success of the prefabAUS study tour to Sweden in May.

In terms of what we recognise as modern manufacturing, Sweden’s reputation as a world leader in prefabricated housing production dates back to the 1940s, though Swedish houses were being built offsite as far back as the 1800s. From the tour group’s perspective, this depth of the Swedish experience provided a unique opportunity to gain important insights into a mature, fine-tuned industry.

Representing all sectors of the offsite industry, from builders and developers to manufacturers, architects and academics, the prefabAUS tour group experienced a very full program covering a cross section of industry players. This proved to be an ideal way to both identify areas in which we might learn from the Swedish model, as well as highlighting considerations that don’t readily apply in the Australian context.

We’re also pleased to confirm the upcoming annual prefabAUS conference in Melbourne (see news story on page 6), which features presentations from leading international and Australian prefab thought leaders as well as the official launch of the Modular Construction Code Board’s Handbook for the Design of Modular Structures.

Meanwhile this issue’s main theme looks at the role prefab / offsite methodologies can play in the successful roll-out of health and aged care facilities. Healthcare projects are set to benefit from the upfront design, accurate sequencing and cost and time efficiencies offered by those methodologies, while the creativity with which future aged care is being re-thought, often leveraging prefab approaches, is inspiring.■

Warren McGregor

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